Cats are wilier than you think

A Friday felid break:  Matthew Cobb found this video of a barking cat, who, when caught making doglike vocalizations, quickly resumes meowing.  What’s that about?


  1. Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:30 am | Permalink

    It’s almost as if this cat was trying to get humans to dislike dogs in an ongoing battle between cats and dogs….oh no, that was a film 🙂

  2. sasqwatch
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:42 am | Permalink

    My first thought: the cat just saw “All Dogs Go To Heaven”. Perhaps that was the film TheRationalizer had in mind? (I’ve never a seen any of that stuff)

  3. Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:48 am | Permalink

    I’m wondering what that cat was looking at, outside the window.

    • WingedBeast
      Posted June 24, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Permalink

      My guess is another cat. It’s probably figured out that it can more easily scare things off from a distance by sounding like a dog than sounding like a cat.

  4. MoonShark
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:54 am | Permalink

    The Earth must be in peril, because that move is straight-up Nibbler from Futurama.

    • MoonShark
      Posted June 24, 2011 at 10:55 am | Permalink

      Addendum: Quick! We must find a hero who lacks the delta brain wave. Somebody call Robert Bishop!

      (okay that was low, hehe)

      • Doobie
        Posted June 24, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

        Totally read that in his voice.

  5. Scote
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:20 am | Permalink

    My first thought was “is this real?”

    I’m still not sure.

  6. Jim Jones
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    That happens when kittens or puppies are brought up with the opposite species.

  7. Posted June 24, 2011 at 11:51 am | Permalink

    Is it the cat barking, or is it a dog outside we hear?

    • Microraptor
      Posted June 24, 2011 at 12:26 pm | Permalink

      Given the way the “barking” is in sinc with the cat’s mouth, it certainly seems like the cat is actually doing it.

  8. daveau
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

    That’s nothing. My cat does a great Ed Sullivan impersonation…

  9. Posted June 24, 2011 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    Cats really wish they were dogs, but in consideration of their human pets…

  10. JTrentadue
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 12:54 pm | Permalink

    I know a dog in a cat suit when I see one.

  11. Grania
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    If this video is genuine – and I’m not completely sure – then this is something that (smart) humans do quite a bit: adjust their accent and / or vocabulary according to what company they are in. It’s a way of fitting in; and maybe, once upon a time, a way of staying safe.

    I’d be somewhat surprised that a cat would do that, as they normally use other tactics when dealing with interlopers. However if the cat has shared a house with a d_o_g (sorry, Jerry) could it be learned copy-cat behaviour?

  12. Charles Minus
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 1:40 pm | Permalink

    Yeah it’s kinda cute, but to me it doesn’t really sound like a dog, it sounds like a cat in distress. Cats have an amazing variety of sounds they can make, especially when they are sick or in pain. I’m worried for this one.

    • Posted June 24, 2011 at 2:11 pm | Permalink

      It’s like he was freaking out, then calmed down when his person/friend/random human was seen. Perhaps the cat wanted to jump through the opening and was scared to do so.

      I have heard similar sounds from cats, but that’s the closest to a bark I’ve ever heard.

      • Posted June 24, 2011 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

        Judging by Baihu’s reaction when I played the video with the audio turned up, I think the two of you are on to something.


    • Gregory Kusnick
      Posted June 24, 2011 at 9:20 pm | Permalink

      When my cat’s feeling grumpy she wanders around the house making a sort of RAAuur RAAuur noise that’s not too dissimilar to this barking sound. Then when she finds someone (or someone finds her), she switches to a more conventional meow, just as this cat did on seeing the camera person. As Grania said, cats use different “vocabulary” in different circumstances.

  13. saintstephen
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    That cat is a born politician.

  14. Sven DiMilo
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 2:15 pm | Permalink

    busted trolling

  15. Posted June 24, 2011 at 4:25 pm | Permalink

    Ha! Bet certain other blogs can’t find a squid that does that!

  16. Sili
    Posted June 24, 2011 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

    If you want to shout slurs at someone, it’s most effective if they understand you. Kitty’s obviously taken an advanced course in canine cursing.

  17. Posted June 25, 2011 at 12:21 am | Permalink

    It sounds like a cat. It also sounds like a dog, sure, but I still hear a cat voice. Maybe I’ve spent too much time with cats? Nah.

  18. Felicia Marianadjá
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 2:29 am | Permalink

    I want it to be real because I love the switch after catching a glimpse of the human.

    • daveau
      Posted June 25, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

      Like he’s soooo busted…

  19. Riptide
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    Am I to believe I’m the only one here who jumped immediately to a quantum/Schroedinger’s cat (which changes its state based on observation)?

  20. daveau
    Posted June 25, 2011 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    +1. I love shit out of left field.

    • daveau
      Posted June 25, 2011 at 7:55 am | Permalink

      OK, I messed that up. Reply to #19.

  21. Posted June 25, 2011 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Nah, Schrodinger was wrong. If you put a cat in a box with a vial of poison gas what you get is a angry cat.

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